Gas is flared at a Permian Basin well site in Carlsbad in September 2019. State officials say they’re working with companies in the region to determine why methane emissions are increasing.

Companies’ promises to curb greenhouse gases in the oil-rich Permian Basin are not working, New Mexico Environment Secretary James Kenney said Monday, citing new evidence that shows emissions of methane and other volatile chemicals from leaky equipment, and venting and flaring, have more than doubled in the past 12 months.

He called the news an “undeniable call to action.”

Helicopter flyovers by the state Environment Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found the emissions leak rate has increased from 2 percent in 2019 to 5 percent this year across the entire Permian Basin, which stretches from West Texas to Eastern New Mexico and contains some of the largest oil deposits in the world.

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